Quick tip today that’ll do wonders for your writing…
It comes from the world of country music.
Now, admittedly I’ve never been a fan. Personally, I prefer my music to be twang-free.
Plus, songs about people drinking away their sorrows – cuz they just lost their wife, girlfriend, dog, job, truck, or all of the above – don’t resonate with me.
But I know plenty of people who dig it. To each their own and all that, ummm, jazz.
Anyhoo, just cuz you’re not a fan of something doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.
I was reminded of this the other day when listening to the Smartless podcast.
The hosts were talking with country star Brad Paisley and asked him whether he starts with the words or the music when writing songs.
His answer: both
This led to a discussion about country music lyrics, which is where today’s lesson comes in.
Paisley remarked that one of the best pieces of advice he ever got was from a successful country music songwriter who dropped this nugget on him…
“If you wouldn’t say it in real life, it doesn’t belong in a country song.”
You should apply the same litmus test to your business’ content.
If it’s not something you’d say in real life, it doesn’t belong in your blog post, article, video, sales letter, website, email, special report, etc.
The failure to do this is a key reason why so much of the content that gets cranked out by businesses – big and small -misses the mark.
It sounds forced. It sounds off. It sounds awkward.
It’s flat-out hard to understand…
… Because it’s written by an English Ph.D. trying to write for professors and not laypeople…
… Or any life and interest get beaten out of it by a corporate stooge afraid of rocking the boat and/or a corporate lawyer who gets all lawyer-y about things…
… Or, in many cases, it’s written by people who have been indoctrinated by English class grammar, so their writing is formal and stuffy.
At the heart of the matter is that the writing doesn’t sound authentic.
Which is a problem because if you want to connect with people through your content, you have to be authentic.
And a great way to come across as authentic and relatable – in country music and your business’ content – is to use the words you use in real life. Do this well, and people will respond in a big way, even if you’re not Brad Paisley.
Don’t think you can write that way? Here’s a tip for you…
Decide on a topic, story or idea you want to write about.
Open up a voice recording app on your phone and then talk about that topic as if you were telling a friend about it.
Next, transcribe the recording with a tool like otter.ai, and then, with just a little light editing, you should be good to go.
It might feel weird until you beat the voice of your high school English teacher out of your head. But stick with it.
Once you see how many more people respond to your content, you’ll wish you skipped more of Mr. Nelson’s first-period English classes!
That is all for today. Class dismissed.
I’ve got to go hop in my pickup and drive home to polish off a bottle of Jim Beam because my dog shot my girlfriend, and I need to make sure my wife doesn’t find out.
Isn’t there a Brad Paisley song about that?
Featured Image credit: “Brad Paisley at Walmart Soundcheck” by Lunchbox LP is licensed under CC BY 2.0.